Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) issued the following statement following an announcement of an extension of negotiations surrounding Iran’s nuclear program for an additional seven months. International negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program have been taking place for the past decade, and have been particularly intense over the past year.

Chairman Royce said:  “Better an extension than a bad agreement that at one point looked like it might be coming.  But if Iran hasn’t been able to make difficult choices over the past year, there is little reason to think that the Supreme Leader will see it differently over the next few months.

“One thing that could change Tehran’s resistance to agreeing to a meaningful and effective agreement to keep it from developing a nuclear weapon is more economic pressure.  Since the beginning of these negotiations, the Administration aggressively opposed Congressional attempts to give our negotiators more leverage with added sanctions, to go into force should negotiations fail.  We’ll never know if that prospect would have made a difference over the past 12 months.  But we do know that talks haven’t succeeded without more pressure.

“This seven month extension should be used to tighten the economic vice on Tehran – already suffering from falling energy prices – to force the concessions that Iran has been resisting.

“Seven months of more talks tells me that the negotiators aren’t close to agreement.  Unfortunately, time is on Tehran’s side as it continues its research and development of centrifuges.

“Congress now must hear from Administration officials as why this extension is justified.”

Note:  Last week, Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel, the authors of the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act (H.R. 850), issued a joint statement, which read, in part, “We are greatly concerned by reports that Iran is seeking to keep – and not dismantle – much of its nuclear infrastructure.  Conceding enrichment to Iran is a fundamental and risky departure from decades of U.S. non-proliferation policy.  Concerning also is Iran’s continued stonewalling of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the key verification agency, about its past bomb work.  How can we have any confidence that Iran will be transparent in the future if it won’t be transparent about its past?”